This post is part of the series Does my bum look big in skin?
Other posts in this series:
- Does my bum look big in skin?
- Does my bum look big in skin? – A cold wind blowing (Current)
- lewd & rude naturists sell nudespapers – does my bum look big in skin? (3)
- secret water – does my bum look big in skin? 
When people say that they welcome autumn, they often talk about clothes. Fluffy jumpers get mentioned, along with gloves. Boots, too, and coats and scarves and hats. The kit you need for those windy walks through piles of fallen leaves. The weightiness of woollens, and wrapping up.
But the cooling and shortening days are making me sad. The shift to autumnal chill is a loss. I don’t want to layer up. I was only just used to being naked.
I’ve not always lived in Britain: in the Mediterranean with my family until I was seven years old, I was often in the sun. I miss it, and wonder why I’ve lived in damp, unpredictable London so long. Sometimes I consider leaving. And children are unselfconscious, so although I don’t clearly remember, I must have run about without clothes back then. Somewhere I carry this deep cell memory; toast-smell of sun on skin and the rich, un-English light.
My first ever naturist day was hot for May: invited to visit a club, I sat with a friend on the grass in the garden and felt the wind stirring my hair. Later we walked up a wooded pathway, giggling that we were Adam and Eve, hyper-conscious of our undressed state in a way that accustomed naturists aren’t. It took time to fully relax.
But I loved it. By June I’d signed up. Then came a stretch of greyish damp when the summer failed to load, beginning on my very first visit to my new club when it was cut off by a downpour which flooded the lane at the end of its drive. Unable to leave for almost two hours as rain banged hard on the sun-room roof, I stared through a grey curtain of water.
Real summer came and I visited regularly, making the time to cut myself off from the pressures of work. That’s when I learned how much naturists love the sun – but not the way any bunch of holidaymakers by a resort pool do. Difference is – the naturists don’t fiddle.
A dressed sunbather thinks mostly of her clothes. She adjusts her straps to avoid lines, turns often to get a uniform front and rear effect, tugs on the bottom half of her bikini as she does so and adjusts the fabric again when she sunblocks up. That’s a lot of fidgeting. Down on the beach, she will brush off the sand that’s stuck on – but sand is uncomfortable only if you’re dressed. Trapped between fabric and skin, it itches and irritates. Take off your clothes – and now you’re just sandy; a body flecked with soft, warm grit.
Naturists in the sun lie still.
‘It’s a sun cult!’ I said to my friends when they asked about life in just flesh, kidding around in the way that you do when you’re hiding your serious intent. What I have really learned is that naked outdoors is the simple deal.
Sunlight on all of your skin re-creates you. Face to the grass with the sun on your back and your butt and your legs, you’re a wild thing: you sense yourself touching the source. First time I felt it, I wriggled with happiness. Now the long, stupefying freeze seems awful.
Turns out it’s not all bad, though. The pool at the club has a polythene dome in the winter so that we can still swim, but the changing room’s thirty feet away. ‘Running across is fun’ another member told me, ‘with your feet burning in the cold!’ But he laughed with enjoyment as he said it, and I understood him. He meant that the wildness remains. Cold is a part of the life cycle too; skin can take it in.
I’ve felt something like this before, out running. My very best runs have always been wintry; wind-gusts and rain-spray bang and buffet and still you can feel yourself warm and strong at the core, resilient. Less protected, we can become more real.
So in winter, I’m hoping that that’s what I’ll feel, but more fully – to the power of proper nakedness. Skin connection. Re-wilding for people.
Woolly jumpers – not so much. Rats to hats, and for me, mittens have lost their mojo. Now I can’t wait for that naked run in the cold.
Image: Luna Jubilee – Flickr creative common
Continue reading this series:
lewd & rude naturists sell nudespapers – does my bum look big in skin? (3)